Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R) and committee Vice Chair Mark Warner hold a news conference on the status of the committee’s inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election at the US Capitol October 4, 2017 in Washington, DC.
The Senate Intelligence Committee throws its support behind allegations that Russia
meddled in the US 2016 election, which yielded President Donald Trump.
The top panel called Wednesday for a “more aggressive, whole-of-government approach” towards an ongoing investigation into alleged ties between Trump’s associates and Moscow during the 2016 campaign and transition.
An investigation has been launched to find out whether the Russian government coordinated with Trump’s aides after the intelligence community’s conclusion that the Kremlin helped with the New York billionaire’s campaign effort ahead of winning the White House, an allegation dismissed both by Moscow and the president.
“There is consensus among members and staff that we trust the conclusions of the ICA [intelligence community assessment],” said the committee’s chairman, North Carolina Republican Senator Richard Burr. “But we don’t close our consideration of it.”
Burr asserted that “the issue of collusion is still open,” further adding that the panel has until 2016 primaries to come up with a conclusion.
“We’ve got to make our facts, as it related to Russia’s involvement in our election, before the primaries getting started in 2018,” said the GOP senator. “You can’t walk away from this and believe that Russia’s not currently active.”
More than 100 people have been interviewed and over 100,000 documents reviewed, according to the committee’s vice chairman, Virginia Democratic Senator Mark R. Warner.
“I was concerned at first that some of these social media companies did not take this threat seriously,” Warner said. “I believe they are recognizing that threat now.”
In some parts of the probe, the investigators “exhausted every individual” they could speak with.